Motor Racing, H:O Scale Slot Cars, Classic Cars, the building of my slot car circuit

Les courses automobiles francaises et voitures classiques

Saturday, 10 May 2014


I am looking forward to the Course de Cote de Sancerre on the 1st June 2014.  Here is a photo from the 2013 edition.
An Alpine Renault A110 speeding up the hill towards Sancerre in 2013
For more of my photos from the 2013 Course de Cotes de Sancerre click here

For more information about the 2014 edition click here


Jaguars finish the session
On Saturday May 3rd I went to the 7th Classic  Days at Magny Cours with Gareth Rees, a big time motor racing enthusiast.   It was our first time at Magny-Cours and although it doesn’t have the atmosphere of some of the classic tracks it does offer some superb viewing, particularly from around the Adelaide hairpin.  For 10 Euros each we got at Classic Days access everywhere and had over a 1,000 interesting cars to see in the car parks, paddock pits and track.  Below are my photos of a few dozen of them that caught my eye.
It is possible to have a very good view point at Magny-Cours 

Equally, the final slow chicane on the start finish straight offers some good photo opportunities even for those of us without expensive cameras.
A variety of cars all trying to get around the last corner all at once

More variety at the final chicane
Variety in the paddock including an Alfa Romeo Montreal and an unusual take on a 2CV

Jean-Pierre Beltoise
The celebrity at this year’s Classic Days was sixties and seventies French Formula One driver Jean-Pierre Beltoise.  I saw him race a number of times in the early seventies both for Matra and BRM.  He was a successful driver becoming European F2 Champion in 1968 as well as coming second in the Dutch GP in his first full F1 season and is perhaps best remembered for winning the very wet 1972 Monaco GP for BRM.  He also had some success in endurance racing and won the French Touring Car championship twice later in his career.  One must not also forget that like Tazio Nuvolari, John Surtees and Damon Hill he had a successful motorcycle racing career before turning to cars.
Jean-Pierre and Jacqueline Beltoise

A number of cars typical of those that Jean-Pierre Beltoise drove were at the circuit and were certainly the stars of the pitlane.  There were two F1 cars, a F2 car and a F3 car, all of them Matras.  I particularly loved the late 1960s F1 car.  It was also good to see the ex Jacky Ickx 1967 Championship winning F2 car and a Jean-Pierre Jaussaud F3 car.  Always great to see one of the sixties F3 1 litre screamers that provided such competitive racing.
Three late sixties Matras with Gareth taking a particular interest in the F2 car
Ex-J-P Beltoise F1 Matra MS10 V12 in the pits at Magny-Cours
F1 Matra MS10 V12 getting ready for the session on the track 
The Matra V12 engine sounded as good as it looked!
1968 F1 Matra V12 chased by a Group C Porsche!
Ex-Jacky Ickx 1967 Matra-Ford MS5 F2 car leaves the pits
Sixties cars had simpler cockpit displays than the GP cars of today.
Ex Jean-Pierre Jaussaud F3 Matra MS6 and current driver
F3 Matra MS6 exits the Magny-Cours Chicane
Ex-Beltoise 1971 Matra MS120B V12 F1 car speeds past the pits
Cobra locking up under braking
Apart from the Matras my favourite cars were the Cobras and Cheetah.  There was the usual selection of common and garden Cobras but also a Shelby Daytona Cobra.  But perhaps, even better was a rare sighting of a Bill Thomas Cheetah that was designed in 1963 to be a Chevrolet engined contender to the Ford engine Cobra. Don’t know the history of this car but I think it is a replica but is painted like one from the sixties.
Sixties Cobra, recently seen on the Tour Auto, exits the pits
Normal Cobras look so much better without the hard top
Beautiful Shelby Daytona Cobra
I had the slot car for years but at last I see a real Thomas Cheetah
Rear view of the Thomas Cheetah

2014 is the 30th anniversary to the French Venturi Marque and there were many examples in the car parks and also some on the track.  Not one of my favourite marques but an important car in the revival of GT racing in the 1980s.
A car park full of Venturis!
A Venturi 400 braking for the Adelaide hairpin

Perhaps, an even more important anniversary this year is the 50th birthday of the Ford Mustang.  Amazing how many French registered example there were around the circuit!
Sixties Ford Mustang queueing to go out onto the track
Another later different model Mustang

The single seaters are always an attraction and there was a good variety but my favourites were the DB Panhards.  It was also great to see the ex-Jan Lammers Shadow F1 car.
An assortment of single seaters exit the final corner onto the pit straight
Nostalgic to see the ex-Jan Lammers 1979 Shadow-Ford DN9 F1 car
Driving hard in a DB Panhard monomil
Now you can see why these DB Panhards cars look so unique
Porsche Formula Vee cars
The unusual 1990 W12 engine of the Life F1 car

The Sports Cars with everything from the 1950s to more modern times also produced some good viewing.   A shame that the P4 was only a replica.
Ferrari P4 replica
Beautiful Gulf liveried Ford GT40
Stunning condition Matra Bonnet D-Jet passes the fuel pumps
More modern Peugeot engined sports car out on the track
Most of the Sports cars were taking passengers around the track.  A Crossle look-alike Marcadier.
Jaguar C Type passes the pits
Jaguar C Type Engine
Drivers eye view of the Jaguat C Type controls
Wonderful sixties Ginetta G4 in the pits

1988 Group C Porsche 962
Not a real Porsche 917 but one of the many nice models on sale

GTs and road going sports cars were there in abundance.  It would seem that French classic car fans have a particular affinity for Triumph with numerous examples in attendance.
This Maserati A6GCS is still looking good although 60 years old (just like me!)
Marcos speeding by the pits
Morgan, Audi and Jaguar make a pretty site in the car park
A rather rarer Auto Union 1000 SP early sixties sports car in the paddock
Jaguar E Type starts another lap
I always wanted one of these as a teenager - a Triumph GT6
One of the many French Triumphs, this one a TR5
Early TriumphTR3 being worked on in the paddock

Touring cars, particularly the usual abundance of Alfa Romeos, were also to be seen everywhere with some lovely old French classic cars in the car parks.
Alfa Romeo lifts a wheel at the Adelaide hairpin
Salmson S4 in the car park
Radiator grill of an old Peugeot 402
Ford Anglia about to take to the track

Pre-war cars got their own time on the track with representatives of MGs, Maseratis, Bugattis and Morgan.
Bugatti T35R on show in the covered paddock area
Pre War cars on the approach to the Adelaide hairpin (MG leads Bugatti, Morgan & Bugatti)
Pre-war Maserati also at the hairpin.  Nice to see it being used, shame about the stickers.

The Classic Tour made a stop at Magny Cours and there was a great variety of vehicles including this truck.
Citroen U23 truck on the classic tour arrives at Magny-Cours

No actual racing but some fast driving was seen on the track and we witnessed a few spins but no major damage.  The drivers and their passengers were certainly having fun.  The average age of the drivers must have been over 60!  Seeing one guy getting out exhausted after a few laps in a F1 car was a photo opportunity I missed.  Maybe next year.

The photographer, John Etherton, asserts his copyright to the photographs in this blog post.  I am happy to send full size copies of these digital photos to the owners or drivers of these cars.  Contact me at